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Post Time: Friday racing notebook

By Gene Kershner

The blog is back this weekend after taking a one-week hiatus due to the focus on last week's print article as we kicked off the Derby trail on TBN. I was keen on both General a Rod (second in Fountain of Youth) and Intense Holiday (Risen Star winner), but disappointed in Hoppertunity's performance in the Risen Star.  Looks like its back to the drawing board for trainer Bob Baffert.

This weekend the Derby trail finds it way back to New York and Aqueduct Racetrack for the Gotham Stakes, a Grade 3 race over 1 1/6 miles on the Big A's inner dirt track.

Some noteworthy goings on over the thoroughbred racing landscape…

- The Gotham features a Withers rematch between 1A-Samraat (5/2), who is running in a coupled entry, and 4-Uncle Sigh (3-1). Both horses are trained by NY-based trainers, Samraat by Richard Violette, Jr. and Uncle Sigh by Gary Contessa. It would be nice to see one of those fine trainers have a horse in the gate on the First Saturday in May.

- I'm leaning towards 8-Extrasexyhipzster (4-1), trained by Michael Trombetta. He's coming off two non-graded stakes wins, one an impressive win on the inner in December in the $100K Don Rickles. I think he handles the additional distance and storms onto the Derby scene.

- Hard to believe a Pletcher-trained horse on the Derby trail has a morning line of 10-1, but 10-Harpoon, who was supposedly being pointed at the Tampa Bay Derby, was shipped back north to run in this spot. Maybe it's the outside post that had morning line maker Eric Donovan assigning a higher number. His nose loss to Vinceremos in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis in Tampa earlier in the month at the same distance warrants him a closer look.

- Good news that Fox Sports 1 has added the Santa Anita Handicap (aka the Big Cap) to its lineup and will televise the big race next weekend. The Big Cap will feature a Breeders' Cup Classic rematch between Mucho Macho Man and Will Take Charge, not to mention Game On Dude, who will be looking to avenge his disappointing loss last November. The $750,000 Grade 1 race that was first run in 1935 should set the stage for an exciting year in the handicap division.

- Speaking of television, Horseplayers, the reality show on the Esquire Network, is moving from Tuesdays to Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. ET starting on Mar. 5. It's one you won't want to miss as the tournament scene shifts to Upstate New York and the Saratoga Race Course.

- Volume II of the Wireplayers.com website's Derby Dozen was released on Wednesday and Top Billing has just that in this week's list. Each panelist's picks can be found at this link, including mine and another Western New York handicapper who goes by the moniker, The Turk.

- Pool 3 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager is open and runs through Saturday at 6 p.m.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Running notebook: Luck of the Irish

About a week ago, organizers must have looked at the long-term forecast for their Shamrock Run and shivered. The early indications were that the traditional start to the racing season would be held in temperatures somewhere around eight degrees.

The numbers before and after Saturday have held up. But recently, the forecast for Saturday's temperature jumped in terms of temperature. We might see something around 35 degrees by racetime, which would be more than welcome after the last few days.

I heard some comments about the race officials running out of sizes of their premiums pretty quickly, but new shipments showed up later in the week. I'd call it more of a long-sleeve tech shirt than a jacket, but it worked out well on the treadmill today.

Yes, the Shamrock is the start of the Runner of the Year series. The full schedule will be released on Sunday in the newspaper. Here's the weekend rundown from buffalorunners.com:

* Shamrock Run, 8K, 62 Republic in Buffalo, 12 noon on Saturday, 856-8613 x108.

* Slush Rush, 5K, Dods Hall at SUNY Fredonia, 9 a.m. on Sunday, 673-3471.

--- Budd Bailey

Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment" »

Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment" »

Running notebook: Catching on

I hope you saw the article last Sunday on Tom Burns, as he attempts to raise money for the Heart Association while running the Shamrock Run. It's been picked up by a couple of television stations, and his donations have gone well past $3,000.

If you are looking to help out the cause, click here to go to his website for fundraising.

Hope you managed to squeeze in an outdoor run this week when the temperature went above freezing. And let's hope the cellars are runners everywhere stay dry.

It's a short calendar for running this weekend, as usual. Buffalorunners.com has the information:

* Polar Bear 5K, 1691 Lockport-Olcott Road in Olcott, 10 a.m. on Sunday, 434-8887. The usual rules - beat the bear, get a special shirt. But the bear is always pretty fast, at least by bear standards. And losing to the bear can be, um, grizzly.

* Canisius Chilly Challege, 1180 Delaware Ave. in Buffalo, 12 noon on Sunday, 882-0466 x262. This is the 35th running of this race, which makes it one of the oldest races in area and worth a big plug here. It's always been well run, and they have a number of categories including teams and family combinations. Even St. Joe's graduates have been known to enjoy the race, even if they don't admit it readily.

By the way, the pickup of jackets for the Shamrock Run starts this weekend. Go to the website for details about the procedure.

--- Budd Bailey

Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 7 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment" »

Bandits Live: Pregame info at 7 p.m.; Wings-Bandits updates at 7:30 p.m.

Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment

News Sports Columnists Bucky Gleason and Jerry Sullivan have a live show that airs on WBBZ-TV twice weekly, at 6:30 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Find out where to find WBBZ here.

Here are segments from tonight's show:

Continue reading "Video: Bucky & Sully on WBBZ, by segment" »

Post Time: Valentine's day racing notebook

By Gene Kershner

Let's take a little tour around the thoroughbred racing world after last weekend's big day at Gulfstream Park…

Lea and Lochte were the big winners on the debut broadcast of the Jockey Club Tour on Fox on Sunday. The initial show was heavy on handicapping with TVG's Simon Bray and Greg Wolf and NYRA's Andy Serling and Richard Migliore all part of the show. Overall, the show was a win for racing anytime you can showcase the sport.  The next broadcast on Fox Sports 1 will be the $10 million Dubai World Cup from Meydan Racecourse in late March.

- I thought Will Take Charge gave a valiant effort finishing second in the Donn on a track that certainly doesn't assist his late running style including the short stretch. He will be a force to be reckoned with down the line.

- Good news for the border oval last week as Ontario Racing Commission announced that there will be a full 2014 racing system at Fort Erie Race Track. The Commission notified Ontario Premier Wynne that the funding has been secured for the meet scheduled to start sometime in the spring of 2014.

- The 10-4-2-1 points phase of the Road to the Kentucky Derby will wrap up this weekend with races at Golden Gate (El Camino Real Derby) on Saturday and at Oaklawn (Southwest Stakes) on President's Day Monday.  The Southwest will include solid Derby contenders Strong Mandate, Ride on Curlin and Tapiture.

- Things will start to heat up next weekend with the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream which should have a loaded field including Top Billing, Medal Count, Commissioner, Conquest Titan and We Miss Artie to name a few. This race has typically been a big steppingstone for the winner.  The points increase to 50-20-10-5 for the first four finishers. So a win more than likely puts you in the Derby gate.

- Finger Lakes-based trainer Jeremiah Englehart will send Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies champion Ria Antonia into the Rachel Alexandra Stakes at the Fair Grounds next weekend. Her connections had considered next weekend's Risen Star Stakes against the boys but thought otherwise so she will head down the road to the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May.

- The fifth annual Wireplayers.com Derby Dozen poll has issued the initial 2014 poll, of which I am a panelist. Cairo Prince, winner of the Holy Bull, heads volume I of the poll which is released every three weeks up through the Derby draw.

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

Running notebook; Countdown to the season

It's February, which means two things:

1. It's cold.

2. It's time to look over the Runner of the Year race calendar, as I pick out this year's races.

There may be a change or two in the schedule, depending on how the dates fall as I try to come up with a balanced calendar. The tough part centers around the substitution of the Fleet Feet 15K for the Biggest Loser Half-Marathon. But I am quick to add that the season will begin on March 1 with the Shamrock Run, as usual.

I hope to have the schedule in place in two weeks for that weekend's column. In the meantime, you can read this week about a fundraising effort by a local runner at the Shamrock, and a brand-new area running club.

In the meantime, here's the one race on this weekend's slate, courtesy of buffalorunners.com:

* Snowball Run, 5K, 701 Seneca St. in Buffalo, 10 a.m. on Saturday, 440-7507. It's a new location for this event, as it shifts to the Larkin Center. This has been a nice little race in the past, so it's easy to wish it well in the new home.

-- Budd Bailey

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About Sports, Ink

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey

Budd Bailey has served in a variety of roles in Buffalo sports in the past 35 years, including reporter, talk-show host, baseball announcer, public relations staffer and author. He covers the Bandits and running for The News when not working as an editor.

@WDX2BB | bbailey@buffnews.com

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